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all the features of an ancient Greek tragedy where there was no escape
for the victim. Hundreds of heavy guns pounded the city, fires raged
through the streets from the first day to the last; pillars of smoke rose
high into the air and hung like a shroud over the battlefield. And the
Russian spectators standing on the other side of the Vistula hurled, not
help, but threats across to the fighting people of Warsaw, threats against
the Home Army., against their leader, who, in the event of survival,, was
" to be brought to trial and punished—with death."
In September, 1939, when the Second Great War broke out, the Red
Army did not come to the assistance of Poland, but linked arms with the
Germans. In the autumn of 1944, the Red Army quietly watched
the Germans in their sinister action in Warsaw. Unobstructed by the
Russian air force, the Luftwaffe carried on its destruction, augmented
by the Russian guns then firing round for round with the Germans into
the burning town. There was no consolation in the statement by
Moscow that, " since Warsaw was so much destroyed, the Russian
artillery could do little more in the way of damage." The British Govern-
ment advertised the measures taken to assist Warsaw. The Polish Premier
broadcasting from London to his people in the homeland, bitterly com-
mented that this help was but an illusion and could not compare with
their desperate efforts. On the following day, he conveyed the thanks of
his country to the British Government, hoping it might speed up help
for the Polish capital. On the day after that, he once more begged
Churchill.» Roosevelt and Stalin not to stand back and watch Warsaw die.
'Assistance ' from Russia was given in the Soviet way. Their propa-
ganda boasted that they ec made use of slow-flying training bi-planes
which enabled them to drop supplies on to a strictly defined area," but
omitted to explain that these supplies^ both meagre and unsatisfactory,
were dropped in sacks without protection and without parachutes attached.
The people of the capital gathered the dust and remnants of the Russian
supplies from the earth where, and if, they were able to find the traces.
• The history of the supplies and the extent of the help given to Warsaw
was little known at this juncture; it was clear, however, that no real help
could be given without action on the part of the Red Army troops who
were in the offing .. . Such an action would have enabled the city to carry
on the fight until the defeat of the Germans on the Vistula had been
achieved by a large-scale Red Army offensive.
There appeared two alternatives as to why the British and Americans
had ceased any further supplies to Warsaw by ait. Either it was a result
of Russian demands, or else the decision was due to the conviction that,
as the Russians had decided against moving forward, the city must already
be in its death throes . . . Therefore any supplies would serve merely to
prolong its agony. And considering both these alternatives, London and
Washington left Warsaw to its fate . . . the Priest and the Levite had
chosen to pass on the other side of the street.